My recent trip to Florida was mainly to photograph birds. Along the way, I found some nice landscapes and seascapes to photograph. My mind’s image of Florida is mostly brightly lit cities and beaches – the usual images that we see. I was lucky enough to be in areas that are more wild – swamps and marshes. That is what I am presenting here. We drove through some interesting areas – pine forests, palmetto groves and other places that I didn’t get to shoot. Maybe I’ll get the chance at a later date.
Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.
On a recent road trip, we spent a day at Joshua Tree National Park near
Twentynine Palms, CA. The trip was, in part, motivated by a chance to
photograph the Milky Way over the park. It was our first trip to Joshua Tree NP
and we really did not know what to expect other than it was a desert landscape
with Joshua Trees. It was indeed a desert landscape typical of the American
Southwest. It has beautiful eroding, rolling hills covered by talus – piles of
rocks eroded from the hillside. There were large, weathered boulders throughout
the park that people used for climbing. We learned that it is a very popular rock-climbing
The desert was in bloom with ocotillo, cholla, desert senna,
Mojave mound cactus and many other plants. But, the signature plant of the park
is the Joshua Tree. The Joshua tree is a large tree like plant with hard spiky
leaves. Despite looking like both a tree and a cactus, it is neither. It is a
plant in the Yucca family (Yucca brevifolia). The oldest one in the park is
about 350 years old. Because it is not a tree, it doesn’t have the woody structure
to bear all of its weight, so, when branches get to big, they bend and fall to
the ground. We missed seeing them in bloom on this trip, but they were
developing their seed pods. I like them so much; I’d like to have one in my
backyard but they only grow in the Mojave Desert between 4,000 and 5,000 feet
Our night sky photo shoot was spectacular. The Milky Way
didn’t rise until after midnight. It was a pleasantly warm evening and we had
to scramble over some boulders, in the dark, to get to a ledge on another large
boulder. That location was picked because The Arch was directly in front of us
and our goal was to shoot the Milky Way over The Arch. I hadn’t done a night
sky shoot in a very long time, so it was great to knock the rust off my skills.
The only disappointment in the shoot was light pollution. When you look at the
Milky Way image, you’ll see the sky has a greenish cast along the horizon. That
cast is the light rom the Palm Springs and Indio areas of Southern California.
Indio is 25 miles from the park.
I want to give a shout out to Casey Kiernan of Joshua Tree Workshops for guiding us in a great night sky workshop and fun time.
Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.